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Fahrenheit 451

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					Fahrenheit
451




 Ray Bradbury
Opening Questions
• How is knowledge power?
• How do we benefit from learning
  different points of view?
• Why would those in control of a society
  want to suppress knowledge? Why or
  how are ideas dangerous?
• How do books represent us?
• Is there an idea you would be willing to
  die for?
  The Setting

• Imagine a world where everything is sped up,
  where bill boards are five times bigger than
  ours because the speed limit is so high, where
  everything you see from a car is a blur, where
  pedestrians don‟t exist.
• This is a future populated by non-readers and
  non-thinkers, people with no sense of their
  history, where a totalitarian government has
  banned the written word.
• Bradbury‟s work
  draws parallels
  between
  entertainment and
  addiction, between
  individual avoidance
  of thinking and
  governmental means
  of thought
  prevention.
 Bradbury‟s Life
• Ray Bradbury was born to a
  Swedish immigrant mother
  and a telephone lineman
  father.
• His paternal grandfather
  and great-grandfather were
  newspaper publishers.
• He encountered a wide
  variety of entertainment
  media: books, comics,        Ray Bradbury 1976

  movies, theatre, museums,
  magic shows and circuses.
Bradbury‟s Life

• As an adolescent he was physically and
  emotionally insecure
• At 13, his family moved from Waukegan,
  Illinois to Los Angeles where he was harassed
  by the class bully.
• His work wasn‟t published in high school
  because his style was unconventional
In His Own Words

“Ihope…to be remembered as a lover of the
whole experience of life. And I think it‟s all
in my writing, but you‟ve got to read it all to
get that. And if you could write that on my
tombstone, you know: „here‟s a teller of joy,
who wanted to celebrate things…even the
dark things because they have meaning.‟
Then I would be content with that. But no
specific things beyond that—just the joy of
being alive for another day, and having been
able to celebrate a particular sense of that
day you didn‟t celebrate the day before.”
The Conflict
•Set in the 24th century
•Books are dangerous and
illegal
•Most people accept this
reality and are happy plugged
into their technology where
they do not have to think
•Guy Montag, a book burning
fireman, is the protagonist
“Most often, the whole house must be destroyed.
Sometimes the people in the house choose to die
with their books” (Bradbury 72).
Thematic Questions

•How dangerous is
censorship?

•What kind of damage
can an oppressive
government cause?

•What long term affects
do loss of creativity and
freedom of thought
have?
The bitter irony
• Fahrenheit 451 has been
  banned in high schools
  across the country
• You decide why this novel
  has been banned and if
  you feel that this is
  justifiable

Not all books that are challenged in this way are banned,
but some are. It depends on the community, and their
policies on censorship.
Social Influences: Anti-
intellectualism of Nazi Germany
    Social Influences
•   Cold War Political Atmosphere
     • By 1946 the United Nations viewed the
       Soviet Union as hostile
     • Most Americans condoned communism
     • By 1950, the US became concerned with
       threat of Communism
         • Korean War
         • Vietnam
•   McCarthyism
     • Joseph McCarthy, a republican senator
       of WI attracted headlines with his
       charges of communist infiltration in
       American organizations
     • He charged 200 people in the State
       Department
•   Vietnam War
     • In 1956 South Vietnam refuses
       referendum to unify with North Vietnam
       and guerilla war begins
    Text to Self:
    Television Habits
    • Average time per week the American child
      ages 2-17 spends watching television: 19
      hours 40 minutes
    • Percentage of children ages 8-16 who have
      a TV in their bedroom: 56%
    • Number of TV commercials view by
      American children a year: 20,000
    • Age by which children can develop brand
      loyalty: 2 years old


Nielson Media Research 2000, McNeal, 1992. Cited by National Institute on Media and the Family
The Time Cost of TV
• According to the A.C. Nielsen
  Co. the average American
  watches 3 hours and 46
  minutes of TV each day (that's
  more than 52 days of nonstop
  TV-watching per year).
• By the age of 65 the average
  American will have spent
  nearly nine years glued to the
  tube.
• Parents spend 38.5 minutes
  per week in meaningful
  conversation with their
  children is 38.5.
HOW MUCH VIOLENCE IS
THERE REALLY ON T.V.?
• The average American child sees
  200,000 violent acts on television
  by the time he or she reaches the
  age of 18.
• Eighty percent of Hollywood
  executives believe there is a link
  between TV violence and real-life
  violence.
TELEVISION: IT'S NOT
JUST ABOUT SHOWS

 • An average child sees 30,000
   TV commercials in a year.
 • By the time s/he reaches the
   age of 65, the average American
   will have seen two million TV
   commercials
Personalizing the Issue
• How important is entertainment in
  your life?
• How much of your time do you spend
  consuming entertainment?
• Is entertainment addictive? Can it
  serve the same purposes as drugs or
  alcohol?
• Beatty suggests that mindless
  entertainment can weaken or destroy
  the mind. Is there evidence of this?
• How does entertainment affect our
  ability to think, learn and
  comprehend?
• What adverse behaviors result from
  stress, pressure and speed in our
  lives? How do addictions relate?
Does this apply to us?
• Where do you envision our
  society going from here?
  What will we look like in
  another 50-100 years?
• Will we be better or worse
  off than we are now?
 Thought-provoking
 quotation

• “The remarkable
  thing about TV is
  that it permits
  several million
  people to laugh at
  the same joke and
  still feel lonely”
             -T.S. Eliot
Your Challenge

Fahrenheit 451 is one author‟s
idea of how these changes (and
choices we make) can lead to a
very different kind of world. As we
begin to read, look for ways that
Montag‟s society is different from
our own. What aspects of his
world do you find strange or
peculiar?
Ray Bradbury

• “Stuff your eyes with
  wonder. Live as if
  you‟d drop dead in
  ten seconds. See
  the world. It‟s more
  fantastic than any
  dream made up or
  paid for in factories.”

				
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posted:7/24/2011
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